Izhar Patkin – The Messiah’s glAss

Posted by Fabio 20 August 2012

With The Messiah’s glAss, Izhar Patkin frames two central narratives that serve as metaphors for each other. His innovative techniques and mastery as a visual narrator are brought to bear on these avenues of exploration. “One is the vanishing physicality of the image in our age of virtual transmission; the other is the diminishing weight of secular Zionism in contemporary Israel,” Patkin explained. “The vaporous images in the scenic veil paintings have the weightlessness of a cinematic projected image. The promise of the canvas and the promise of the land are ghosts,” Patkin added.

The exhibition consists of two major works. The first is You Tell Us What To Do Act III, a painting for four walls on pleated illusion (tulle) veils that envelop the entire perimeter of the ornate Offit Gallery like a continuous mural. The other is a 12-foot tall clear glass sculpture titled The Messiah’s glAss, a figurative tour de force produced at the Centre International de Recherche Sur le Verre et les Arts Plastiques (CIRVA), Marseille, over a five year period from 2003 to 2007. Both the emblematic, transparent sculpture and the images in the translucent painting seem suspended like ghosts between appearance and disappearance, challenging conventions of art history. In Patkin’s words: “Cinema and Duchamp changed everything in painting. When I was a student, Super-8 films, performance art, and the documentation of performance were the door out of the canvas ghetto. That door was very seductive. Today it’s video, but I’m still in love with the promise of painting, and its object. For me, the curtain is a canvas. It’s not meant to be a curtain over a window. It’s meant to occupy the space of painting.” In the exhibition, Chief Curator Norman Kleeblatt noted, “The gossamer curtains are neither the ‘window’ of illusionistic painting nor the inviolable flat surface of the modernist canvas, nor the weightless screen of contemporary video art. The transparent, figurative glass of Patkin’s sculpture contrasts with the solid bronze and marble of classical statuary as well as the dense industrial components of postwar abstract sculpture and the found materials common in sculpture today.”

Izhar Patkin
The Messiah’s glAss
The Jewish Museum
September 14 – November 11, 2012